Democracy in Bobov

My ancestors were Bobover hasidim, but my interest in this story comes mostly from the American in me.

This is an election in every sense of the word. There is a voter’s registry with a list of those eligible to vote; voters must present valid identification; the contenders are waging a fierce campaign; and the tension between the opposing camps is palpable. What makes this election unprecedented is the identity of the contenders: This election will determine which of two rabbinic leaders of the Bobov Hasidic sect has the most support among Bobov Hasidim.

One contender is Rabbi Ben Zion Halberstam, son of Rabbi Shlomo Halberstam, who revived the Bobov Hasidic dynasty in America after the Holocaust, but died in 2000. The other is Rabbi Mordechai David Unger, son-in-law of Rabbi Naftali Halberstam, who briefly succeeded Rabbi Shlomo Halberstam, but then died two and a half years ago. (MORE)

There is no universal suffrage in this election, however. “The movement’s single yeshiva students were denied the right to vote in the current election, so voters are required to provide proof that they are married. “

Women are not mentioned in the article, but I’m guessing the 19th Amendment doesn’t apply in Borough Park.

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